Sunderland out of relegation zone with 0-0 draw vs Arsenal
SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Sunderland moved out of the relegation zone on Sunday as Arsenal stumbled again in a 0-0 draw in the English Premier League.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech and the crossbar denied Sunderland victory as the Black Cats rose to 17th after swapping places with Norwich on goal difference, with at least one of the two teams likely to go down.
Arsenal stays fourth in the final Champions League spot, level on 64 points with Manchester City in third. But Arsene Wenger's title ambitions are mathematically over with his team 12 points behind leader Leicester, which beat Swansea 4-0 later Sunday, and three games left.
One bright spot for Arsenal at the Stadium of Light was Jack Wilshere coming on with seven minutes left for his first full-team appearance since breaking his leg pre-season.
The visitors dominated the early stages with the Black Cats simply unable to match their pace and movement in the middle of the field.
Arsenal might have gone ahead after nine minutes with two chances, when goalkeeper Vito Mannone turned Olivier Giroud's shot behind after it had clipped Patrick Van Aanholt, and then claimed Per Mertesacker's header from the resulting corner.
Sunderland came close to the opening goal with 22 minutes gone when, after Jermain Defoe had been tripped by Laurent Koscielny, Van Aanholt hit the angle of bar and post with his free kick with Cech beaten.
Mannone had to get down well to collect Mesut Ozil's deflected 31st-minute effort, and he produced a fine save to keep out Alexis Sanchez's free kick three minutes later with DeAndre Yedlin blocking Alex Iwobi's follow-up.
Defoe was convinced his side should have been awarded a penalty when his 37th-minute volley struck Mertesacker's arms at close-range. Referee Mike Dean was unmoved, just as he was when Iwobi's shot was deflected against Yedlin's arm by Younes Kaboul four minutes later.
Cech had to be at his best three times within minutes as the Black Cats returned in determined mood, pulling off a fine double save to deny first Defoe and then Yann M'Vila, then diving to his right to turn away Wahbi Khazri's well-struck drive.
However, Arsenal wasted a great opportunity when Iwobi sliced across the face of goal from Giroud's 56th-minute cross, after Sanchez had beaten Van Aanholt and Jan Kirchhoff.
Defoe lifted the ball over Cech but wide from Lee Cattermole's ball over the top eight minutes later, but Mannone was called upon twice as time ran down to deny substitute Danny Welbeck and Sanchez.